FAQs

Getting Started

I filled out a form but have not heard back still. Why?

A couple of possible reasons. We pattern our intake process after leading tech accelerators (like Techstars or YC). We read every form submission in detail and then make a judgment call on whether we can really help you, before we ask you to meet with us.

Our company tries to help a very specific type of founder and company whom we believe we can take to traction. Therefore, our sales process and sales team might be quite different from what you’re used to – it’s only a handful of individuals taking meetings, and these individuals all come from ex-founder backgrounds. They’re trusted to understand your product vision, provide you with the right education and guidance on your next steps, and also tell our product team whether there’s a high likelihood we’ll work well together.

Due to all of these reasons, we’re only able to meet with about 20% of the people who submit the form. Please also see the next point for our minimum secured budget needed across projects.

What will it cost me?

We understand building a product requires different approaches at different stages of growth, therefore in addition to end-to-end services via our industry first vision-to-traction system, we also provide custom packages based on your needs.  Our goal with these is to provide flexibility and focus on the areas where you need the most help.

If you’re at the concept stage and need a team of navy seals to launch, integrate, and scale the product, the vision-to-traction system is best for you.
If you’re coming to us with a designed and developed healthcare app, and simply need EHR deployment, the EHR Integration package would best suit your needs.
If you have inhouse engineers and simply want some product and design to improve the user experience, the product design and management package is best for you.
If you want to adapt generative AI models for a specific use case, our AI chatbot development package is best for you.

Post our discovery call, we’ll get together to figure out what package best suits your current needs.

 

🎯 Vision-To-Traction System: $20,000/month [See more details here]

🎯 Product Design & Management: $10,000/month

🎯 EHR Integration: $10,000/month

🎯 AI Chatbot Development: $10,000/month

Can you share some case studies?

Our biggest success stories come from continuous product iteration, so projects can take multiple years. Here are examples of successful project outcomes and lengths:

✅ Walkertracker Apps with Wearable Integration — Acquired by Terryberry — 3 year partnership

✅ Dedica Remote Patient Monitoring — Landed their first RPM SaaS client at $300k ARR — 2 year partnership

✅ Rocketmath Online Math Game — Reached 320k students in 2022 — 4 year partnership

✅ Dermasensor Apps and Sensor — $34m raised during partnership — 4 year partnership

✅ Medable Clinical Trial Platform— $25m raised during partnership, Clinical Trials launched for Merck & Stanford — 2 year partnership

✅ Cruise Control HR platform — Grew user count to 300k, Acquired by Fortune 500 company — 4 year effort by our CTO

✅ Helpkin Apps — Acquired by Wana — 2 year partnership

An overseas company told me they can get my MVP done in 3 months though?

We can’t tell you how many founders come to us with a rushed codebase that’s full of technical debt. In those situations, we would either say “we have to rebuild it” or “we can’t work with you”.

“Technical debt (also known as tech debt or code debt) describes what results when development teams take actions to expedite the delivery of a piece of functionality or a project which later needs to be refactored. In other words, it’s the result of prioritizing speedy delivery over perfect code.” — https://www.productplan.com/glossary/technical-debt

MVPs now are no longer stick figure scaffolds like a twitter feed that can get thrown together in a few days. Pretty much every app idea now is more sophisticated, not for the sake of sophistication but because the ecosystem and competition is just much more mature. So, the cost of scrapping the code and starting again becomes untenable for most.

We operate as if tearing down version 1 will simply not be a viable option for our clients. That’s why we take our time to do things right the first time.

  • – If you don’t validate your design with Rapid Prototyping, you’re basically gambling when you start coding the thing, not having any data to back up that people want it.
  • – If you code the MVP with a “ship fast and break things” mentality without proper devops / architecting / clean code from the beginning, technical debt will be a matter of when and not if.

A good analogy for “getting things right the first time” is building a house. A new home is expected to last for half a century or more, so you don’t take shortcuts even if you use off-the-shelf products. Use a solid blueprint, structural soundness, a modern look and feel, and good flow / feng shui => it’s built to last and sells in any market.

We do also understand the critical importance of time to market, which drives our commitment to getting Proof of Concept out to market within 3 months, even if it’s not the full MVP

Who do you work well with?

For our long-term partnership model, it’s a two-to-tango, making sure that you and I are truly great fits. We’re looking for partners that:

  • – exceed us in domain expertise, have an unfair advantage in their space
  • – are humble leaders willing to get their hands dirty (we don’t want you to delegate everything to us because you business will likely not succeed without an involved founder)
  • – bring new ideas to the table but still listen well
  • – aren’t married to their idea, respect that the market is king, and are flexible in order to ship lean and avoid scope creep
  • – have a ROI-driven approach, understand that to get to the promised land – hiring the cheapest option nor the most expensive option are likely to win
  • – let us earn trust during Rapid Prototyping and Proof of Concept, then treat us as inhouse equivalents by moving swiftly to Agile

Can you provide me with a Case Study similar to my Project?

Yes and no. It depends on the project scope if we can provide a ‘similar’ case study or not. We tend to work on the hardest problems, which means we’re usually creating something that’s never been done before in its exact form. In some cases, projects will have some features similar to yours and be in the same industry. Sometimes we may not have a similar case study to share with you, but in that case, we are still able to significantly mitigate your risk in working with us. How?

Before we decide to work on a project, we conduct our Project Compatibility Assessment (PCA).
PCA is designed to verify if we are a good ‘tech fit’ by pulling on our decades of experience with over 200 apps launched, and if we are not, will honestly pass on your project. We say no to projects several times a week.

Also, keep in mind that all great apps regardless of the industry, features, tech stack, etc.. are created via the same time tested process – proper onboarding/discovery, rock solid market tested designs, quality coding and meticulous QA. Bottom line… similar case studies are nice to have, but should not be a dealbreaker for an experienced company like ours.

How often do I get to view the work in progress?

During the rapid prototyping phase, sometimes daily or every couple of days. Product discovery and UI/UX is heavily dynamic in nature, because we need to ensure what we’re developing aligns with your vision.

When development begins, we move into agile biweekly sprints. We have sprint planning meetings with you at the beginning of the 2 weeks to prioritize features. And at the end of the two weeks, we can demo whatever is viewable. During the 2 weeks, our development team is in deep work mode: architecting, building, testing, and fixing things, so that we can show you the best version of our work at the end of two weeks with minimal distraction. However, for clients of ours that are able to follow along code commits, we follow best practices of frequent (oftentimes daily) github commits which you will have transparent read access to.

Do you offer a bug-free warranty?

We do not. Our approach toward bugs is to constantly innovate towards minimizing bug-fixing costs, because we know that our success is measured by velocity of developing new features. Bugs are still a reality of software development, but we use a multi-disciplinary approach to minimize the number of bugs that ever see the light of day in client demos. This approach consists of manual QA, automated testing (where we write tests to prevent repetitive manual testing), automated cross-device testing, performance-load & security testing, regression testing, and IoT testing. Learn more here.

I already have some design assets. Why do I need onboarding and discovery?

No matter how good your assets are, project onboarding and discovery are key for starting your project properly. We need time to really understand what problem we are solving, your vision for the product, what success means, and how we can best get you there. The better the assets, the less time we need to spend on discovery. With that said you should budget at least 40-60 hours for discovery. The time spent in discovery will greatly increase the chances of your project meeting your business goals, budget and timeline. Without a proper discovery phase, we can not start your project in a way that’s optimal for development success and will have to regrettably pass on working together.

What’s special about your engineering team?

That we are not just an engineering team. Engineering is where we cut our teeth, but our mission is to problem-solve for the most innovative companies in the world and make sure we build solutions that make our customer’s customers happy.

The technical hats that we wear across your project will typically cover architect, machine learning / artificial intelligence, product strategy, UI/UX design, full-stack engineers, devops & security, and QA automation.

To better understand our principles for hiring, operating, and maximizing our engineering team for our clients’ business goals, please read this recent article from our founder:

https://medium.com/@joectuan/the-honest-truth-about-app-development-from-a-founder-that-lost-50k-hiring-his-first-developers-c2222cd8671e

Pricing

What will it cost me?

We understand building a product requires different approaches at different stages of growth, therefore in addition to end-to-end services via our industry first vision-to-traction system, we also provide custom packages based on your needs.  Our goal with these is to provide flexibility and focus on the areas where you need the most help.

If you’re at the concept stage and need a team of navy seals to launch, integrate, and scale the product, the vision-to-traction system is best for you.
If you’re coming to us with a designed and developed healthcare app, and simply need EHR deployment, the EHR Integration package would best suit your needs.
If you have inhouse engineers and simply want some product and design to improve the user experience, the product design and management package is best for you.
If you want to adapt generative AI models for a specific use case, our AI chatbot development package is best for you.

Post our discovery call, we’ll get together to figure out what package best suits your current needs.

 

🎯 Vision-To-Traction System: $20,000/month [See more details here]

🎯 Product Design & Management: $10,000/month

🎯 EHR Integration: $10,000/month

🎯 AI Chatbot Development: $10,000/month

What is each step of the VTS system?

Step 1 is about taking the “Vision” for the product in someone’s head and moving it into a tangible set of product/prototype screenshots that the founder and others can understand, contribute to and/or invest in.

Step 2 is about taking the “Visual Prototype” and moving it into a series of working code modules that demonstrate the “Killer Demo” features in a way that highlights what makes the product both different and better.

Step 3 is about taking the “Killer Demo” and moving it into an “MVP” form where it can actually be used by you to do some level of useful work and gather feedback from actual users.

Step 4 is about taking the “MVP” and moving it into a fully functional “Version 1” of the software, launching the product, and making the first sets of refinements based on market data from paying customers.

Step 5 is about taking the “Launched Product” and moving it forward to the point that significant traction is delivered in terms of users, revenue, and ultimately profits.

What happens during each step? (Longer version)

Step 1. Confirm Product Vision

  • Rapid Design Iterations are Used to Create a Compelling Multi-screen Visual Prototype
  • Help to Assess Market Interest, Build Stakeholder Consensus and Impress Prospective Investors

Step 2. Demonstrate Value Proposition

  • Rapid Development of a “killer demo”
  • Architect Core Functionality
  • Design Key User Experience Elements
  • Design Scalable Architecture

Step 3. Build and Refine the MVP

  • Rapid Development of MVP
  • Deploy the MVP to Pilot Customers, sample/measure their reaction, and evolve the MVP to increase satisfaction
  • Included Services: Medical Officers, Compliance Officer, DevOps, etc.

Step 4. Develop and Launch the Product

  • Rapid Development of Launched Product
  • Manage Alpha, Beta, and Release Process
  • Refine product based on real-world use, market and iterate the product to improve product-market fit.

Step 5. Deliver Traction

  • Rapid Refinement of Launched Product
  • Conversion Funnel Analysis and Optimization
  • Scale the customer base to Profitabilit

How do you guarantee traction?

We created the first vision-to-traction system in our industry (that we’re aware of) after we’ve spent a decade creating successful outcomes for our clients, whether 7-8 figure fundraising events, acquisition events by fortune 500, or healthy profitability.

After a decade of creating success stories, refining our processes, and understanding who and what’s required to get there, we gained the confidence to launch this guarantee.

If you’re able to be deeply involved as a partner, commit continual investment into our team without disruptive pauses, and communicate clear goals to our team, in turn we are able to provide our industry-first satisfaction guarantee at the end of each of the 5 steps in the VTS system. Please see the pricing list for more details.

The pricing list says I will get “up to” a number of people on my project. Does that mean it might be less than that number, and if so why would I pay the same?

Unlike the traditional T&M model which is focused on staffing X number of bodies for Y number of hours, we are focused on the outcome at each phase, and not staffing as many people as we can.

In Step 1, you may only be working with a product manager and UI/UX designer, because they’re all that’s needed to confirm the product vision.

As you advance to Step 2 and beyond, we would introduce the technical team members and begin scaling “up to” the project team size based on the project scope.

Our model allows us internal flexibility and creativity to assign the right mix of people needed to achieve traction on the timeline that we set out to hit.

So I won’t get transparency into who and how many hours they work?

We’re not hiding anything. You will still meet all of the individuals that are on the project, given that we will be part of your team and you will be part of ours. But we want the focus of our partnership to be on the outcomes, and not the hours.

We have predictable monthly pricing so you know exactly what the cost will be, and if you aren’t happy with what we’ve produced as the outcome during each phase, we have a money-back guarantee that is unprecedented in our industry.

Our pricing model was designed to align everyone’s focus toward the same thing: traction.

If I’m paying more for tier 2 or tier 1, why is the timeline the same as tier 3?

In software engineering, adding more people doesn’t mean software development moves faster.
You don’t halve the time to outcome by doubling the personnel.

Our timelines for traction are based on our track record of achieving traction, whether it’s for a seed-funded startup or for a fortune 500.

Instead, the way to think about tier 3 vs tier 2 or tier 1, is to understand how complex your product is. Enterprises or hypergrowth-stage startups can have more apps, tech stacks, and departments to navigate, as well as more robust DevOps and compliance requirements. These are good uses for adding a larger dedicated team with tier 2 or tier 1.

Can I change my tier later?

Yes, you can slide up or down a tier, if your needs change over time. This is fairly common, for example, when a startup rolls into an enterprise, or lands a particularly large client.

How does the money back guarantee work?

Our industry first money back guarantee will give you the confidence to partner with us for your project. We are “putting our money (project payments) where our mouth (pitch) is”.

During Step 1, depending on what tier you go with, there is a 75% (Tier 1) and 50% (Tiers 2 and 3) no questions asked money back guarantee, as long as you terminate our engagement and request the refund within 30 days of project kickoff.

As the project advances to steps 2 through 5 and trust and momentum build, we guarantee money back in the percentage shown, as long as you terminate our engagement and request the refund at the 3-month check-in point after each step.

You may be asking “How can we afford to do this?” Well, it’s quite simple – we know from our internal customer data that the vast majority of our clients are very happy and continue to work with us well after initial project completion. And we are highly confident that you will have the
same positive experience.

Please note, our money back guarantee applies only to the vision-to-traction package for end to end services, and not for other custom packages.

Important Notes: The money-back guarantee is only offered once, as that would mean terminating our engagement Payments made for previous steps will not be eligible for money-back. If you select the money-back guarantee, you will retain ownership of deliverables.

Can you give a project quote instead?

We don’t work on fixed price, which is a very outdated form of software development and essentially proven to not result in successful business outcomes.
Our model is designed to rival the leading product teams in the world (which cost 7-8 figures a year), but give you what you need exactly when you need it, at an annual cost of around 25% of building one of equal size in-house.

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